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Know the Laws: Colorado

UPDATED September 18, 2017

Enforcing your Out-of-State order in Colorado

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If you are planning to move to Colorado or are going to be in Colorado for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules for out-of-state orders in Colorado

back to topCan I get my protection order enforced in Colorado? What are the requirements?

Yes.  Your protection order can be enforced in Colorado as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.*
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story. It doesn’t matter if he actually showed up in court; just that he had the opportunity to do so.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled within a "reasonable time" after the order is issued.**
Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)(A)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b); Colo. Rev. Stat. §13-14-110(2)

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back to topCan I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in CO?

No. Only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in Colorado.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living. Contact the court that issued your Protective Order to find out if this is possible. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the "How to Get a Restraining Order" page for the state where your order was issued.

If your order does expire while you are living in Colorado, you may be able to get a new one issued in Colorado but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Colorado. To find out more information on how to get a protective order in Colorado, visit our CO Domestic Violence Protection Orders page.

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back to topI was granted temporary custody with my out-of-state protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in CO?

Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,* Pennsylvania can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets this legal standard, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area, select the state you are in from the Where to Find Help tab on the top of this page and then click Finding a Lawyer.

* The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

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Registering your out-of-state order in Colorado

back to topWhat is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to Colorado, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC. If not, your order may be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in CO.

Note: Most law enforcement officials have access to the NCIC, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

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back to topDo I have to register my protection order in Colorado to get it enforced?

No, you are not required to register your order to get it enforced. Colorado state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as you or someone else can show the police officer a copy of your protection order and you can truthfully tell him or her that the order is still good.*

A peace officer can enforce an out-of-state protection order that appears to be an authentic court order that has been provided to the peace officer by you or by any other source.  If you do not have a copy of your protection order, the officer can still enforce your order as long as s/he can verify it through the central protection order registry in Colorado, the National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC), or through communication with appropriate authorities.*  You can read more about the NCIC under the question What is the NCIC? Who has access to it?

* Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-110(4)

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back to topWill the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Some courts in Colorado will notify the abuser if you register your Protection Order. If you fear that your abuser may try to locate you in Colorado, you may wish to consult a local domestic violence advocate to find out whether your county court will notify your abuser.

You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations in CO on our CO State and Local Programs page.

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back to topWhat if I don't register my protection order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Maybe. While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced, if your order is not registered, it may be more difficult for a CO law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real. Meaning, it could take longer to get your order enforced.

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Colorado. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in CO, go to our CO State and Local Programs page.

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back to topDoes it cost anything to register my protection order?

 No. There is no fee for registering your out-of-state protection order in Colorado.

 

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